New Delhi: Pakistan plans to change its team of lawyers, reports said today, a day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the country to halt for now the death sentence of Indian Kulbhushan Jadhav. The ruling of UN's top court has been viewed as a big win for India, which has accused Pakistan of violating an international treaty that guarantees rights of foreign convicts.
A new team of lawyers would present Islamabad's position more effectively in the world court at The Hague, Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz was quoted by media reports as saying today; he also commented that the counsel for Pakistan had "courageously" presented their stance earlier this week.
The Nawaz Sharif government has come under attack from opposition leaders as well as experts, who allege that a weak case was put up by Pakistan's lawyers.
In a decision that described as "unanimous and binding", 11 judges at the UN court said yesterday that Pakistan should have provided India consular access to Mr Jadhav.
Mr Jadhav, 46, was sentenced to death last month by a Pakistani military court on charges of "spying" and "terrorism".
The former Navy officer was arrested by Pakistan last year. New Delhi says that he was kidnapped from Iran, where he ran a business.
Pakistan argued before the ICJ that it does not have jurisdiction in the case as it was related to its national security; it also insisted that a person convicted of terrorism cannot be granted consular access. That argument was rejected by the court.
Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told Pakistan Today that the issue of Mr Jadhav concerns the nation's security and there will be no compromise on it. "ICJ has only granted formal stay on the death sentence of Jadhav," he said.
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A Pakistan Bar Council executive member, Raheel Kamran Sheikh, was quoted as saying it was a "matter of concern" that the success rate of Pakistan in international arbitration cases was 2 per cent while India's success rate was 60 per cent.
"We lost important cases at the international forum in the last couple of years. Likewise, we spent more than one billion rupees on lawyers' fees in those cases," Mr Sheikh said. He commented that the Jadhav case was a classic example of how in the power struggle between military and political institutions, gaps in the foreign policy and national security perspectives had grown.
A senior official in the law ministry was quoted as telling the Express Tribune that Pakistan's lead lawyer Khawar Qureshi made two mistakes. "He did not nominate ad hoc judge before the hearing and he did not respond to the argument of Indian lawyer regarding the 2008 bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan on consular access," he said.
Pakistan People's Party Vice President Sherry Rehman also said that the Pakistani counsel ended his arguments in 50 minutes against the allocated time of 90 minutes.